The Panajon Challenge: Value Creation

                                                                        By Ike Araneta ‘71b

Inspired and impressed by what he saw among the Brothers and Sisters in UP Northern California (see Tony’s letter below), Brod Tony Panajon offered challenges that would allow UP Beta Sigma Fraternity International, Inc. (UPBSFI, Inc.) in general, and UP Beta Sigma Northern California Chapter as a “pilot”, to sail beyond the sea of comfort and to venture into wider seas, “where losing sight of land we shall find the stars.” Tony said in his letter reprinted below (scroll down to see full text): “I found the other face of the Betans here.”


It was truly a treat to have someone as insightful as Tony share with us his perspectives about the changed business climate in the Philippines and how our brotherhood can make itself more relevant  to the times.

During the roundtable talks he led during his visits in Palo Alto and Sacramento in early June 2008, he found a group of Brods both capable and eager to leave a lasting legacy that goes beyond the “dole-out projects” – something akin to the old adage, “Teach people how to fish, and they will eat for a lifetime. But give a person some fish, and he will eat for just a day.”  It’s all about “value creation”. Not just in material terms but more importantly in terms of applying oneself for the betterment of society in general.
Tony argued against the common notion that, to succeed in the Philippines, one has to either have high political connections or venture and seek employment abroad. He said that certain global and local developments show that, indeed, our very own native land is still a place of investment by Brods who are currently residing outside of the Philippines. For instance, there is now a transfer of power from the politicians (who have practically lost credibility among the general populace) in favor of new foreign investments, e.g. influx of Korean investments, empowerment of people due to the OFW remittances, the increasing difficulty of Filipino scientists in seeking work outside of the country and thus are left with sharing their own technical know-how in their own land, and the effect of information technology that continues to level the playing field which is a global phenomenon.
UPBSFI is now inviting volunteers to partake in discussions to follow-up the ideas brought forth during Tony’s visit in any, or a combination, or all of the following areas:


1.   The possibility of forming "guilds" based on our expertise and lend our talents to specific segments of the Filipino endeavor to benefit from their learned expertise and experience.

2.   The opportunity of making an impact on Corporate Social Responsibility by supporting value formation and steward leadership programs being sponsored by private initiatives. (This supports Brod Bernie Bacosa’s advocacy).

3.   Supporting self-help programs in the agri-sector by providing technical assistance and "mentoring" to organized farmers including but not limited to micro-financing, if we are sufficiently organized for it. (This supports Brod Vic Battad’s opinion regarding our UP Centennial Reforestration Project).

4.  The possibility of supporting good science scholars and or bureaucrats in any of the government agencies that have proven expertise but are not supported by the government to conduct researches. We can ask for them to develop a specific research funded by our group, maybe by putting up a professional chair as an example.


       In short the Philippines needs assistance in attracting back the skilled talents that for so long have fled the country.

      These range from money managers, to software programmers to  musicians.  Those who have trained and worked

      overseas have much to share in terms of ideas with our people.


Below is Tony’s letter to the Brods and Sisters of the UP  Northern California Chapter:


I have not left but I thought that you should know how much I and my family appreciate the brotherly welcome you have accorded me and my brood. I feel guilty that I have  not done this early enough, when I had the chance 6 years hence.


I found the other face of the Betans here and am  pleasantly surprised that your new found relationships actually thrive in the midst of the busyness that your new environment dictates.


I found our  discussions stimulating even when we are not under the influence of liquor or "spirited" beverage. The  entertainment portion of Ike's birthday is performance "level" and could not have been contrived as Tatang put it, "for the sake of my visit". It must really have been a way of life for you here. That's very  impressive. I can't help but appreciate the support you get from your wives in the kitchen and the encouragement to come together regularly despite their house chores and other preoccupations. I appreciate their tolerance of having to listen again and again about our exploits of the past and relieve the campus conquests that make us feel young again. 


So I thank you even as I might still see some of you during the remainder of my visit here. Happy with the discovery that I have found a place for myself in this distant and chilly place, coming away warmed up with the feeling of brotherliness and community life.


Thanks to you, Tatang, for  being patient with me and continuing to invite me all this  time to witness what you and the other brothers have to put  together.. A UP Betan family.


I will be back for more...  


Fraternally yours,


Tony Panajon 67B



                                                Below are Tatang’s photos of Tony’s visit  to Northern California



                            Tony leading the roundtable discussions as Brods intently listen to his points (May 31, 2008)



                     Feeling victorious and confident after the discussions, with everybody contributing and expressing interest



               Standing: Gilbert Basbas ‘73, Narcing Lapuz’48, Manolo Banzon ‘68, Boy Ramos 57, Eric Punzalan ‘65,

                              Ding Cavestany ‘65, Titing Valdez ‘61, Gerry Abenes ‘66, Ike Araneta ‘71, Mino Cabral ‘58

               Seated:    Dutch Aragones ‘78, Tatang Vergara '67, Tony Panajon ‘67, Dave Villegas ‘55, Kiko Delmendo ‘72,

                              Vee de Vera ‘67. Those who attended and not in this picture are Winston Acevedo ‘61,

                              Perfecto “Perfing” Palacio ’53,  Gene Samson ‘66, Rick Velasco’67




                 Sharing light moments together. From left: Ding Cavestany, Ike Araneta, Boy Ramos, Gabby Moraleda and Tony



                      A lovely night of community singing featuring superb singers Brod Perfing Palacio and Mercy Villegas



                  Discussions continue in Orangevale, CA. From left: Cecilio Felix '52, Tony '67, Mino Cabral '58, Emy Fajardo '57,

                Yay Topacio '77 and wife Jin, Rotsen Lawas '67 and Ike '71. Not in picture are Tatang '67 and Alan Torneros '89.



                                                                     Panajons at Rocklin, CA (Vergara Home)


                         Panajons at baptism of Nicolo Vergara, Tatang’s 2nd grandson at Saint Claire Church, Roseville, CA



                                                     Panajons visit Google-plex as guests in Ike Araneta's work turf



      *Comment on "The Panajon Challenge":  It's Time! (no pun intended).






                                                                                      (Back ---> Features)